Starseed Pilgrim extends a somewhat chilly welcome; partly due to its austere, colour-coded visuals, but mostly due to the lack of hand-holding in its sterile white void. If you persist, through experimentation and deciphering the precious few scraps of information provided, you’ll begin to understand that you’re a sort of cosmic gardener, able to plant variously coloured seeds in blocks from which more blocks will grow. You won’t know why.
Starseed Pilgrim isn’t actually a hard game, but it is a demanding one, in that it expects you to learn how its world works. Different block types sprout and behave in very different ways, and you must learn to predict the patterns if you wish to build structures up and away from the creeping black morass beneath your pilgrim’s feet, and towards the star symbols beckoning from their floating perch in the sky.
Why do you want to do this? That’s something you need to learn as well. Starseed Pilgrim takes place in three worlds – a central hub, individual levels, and a black-and-white void to which you’ll be sent upon contact with the inky darkness – and figuring out how the three intersect is a crucial part of the game. Pay close enough attention and you’ll soon understand.
Once learned, the game’s ruleset provides a foundation for freeform block growing. Its main stricture involves having no control over what your next seed is, though you’ll always be able to observe what that seed is, as well as two seeds following it. You’ll need to carefully plan your gardening if you’re going to construct bridges across the whiteness and find the answers beyond.
Few games are as initially opaque as Starseed Pilgrim, and few offer as rich a dawning sense of discovery in return.
Starseed Pilgrim is available on PC and Mac. PC version tested.